Sunday, November 27, 2005


Can Comedy Concert Films Stand Up Again?

The other day, I was watching the DVD of Jerry Seinfeld's I'm Telling You For the Last Time, laughing so hard in parts, I could barely breathe, and I wondered, why are there no more live stand-up comedy concert films in theaters? In the late 1970s and early 80s, Richard Pryor made the genre legendary with Richard Pryor: Live in Concert and Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip. In the mid-to-late 80s Eddie Murphy ran with this concept in his concert films Delirious and Raw. Bill Cosby's Bill Cosby Himself is an absolutely hysterical concert film. So what happened to this genre? Why is it no longer deemed a viable product for theaters? From a production stand point, these are relatively inexpensive films to make. Could Gilda Radner's flopped 1980 entry into the genre, Gilda Live, directed by former comedian, and Oscar winning director Mike Nichols, have contributed to the demise? Does pay-per-view options and HBO comedy specials eat into the demand for such films? Had the Seinfeld film been released theatrically, it would have made a fortune, and deservedly so. Surely Hollywood can test the waters again. Who knows? They might be laughing all the way to the bank.

I thought Jerry Seinfeld did a documentary style film after the series ended. Was this that film?
Seinfeld had a movie in movie theaters, called Comedian a couple years ago. And, then it was released on DVD.
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